The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has assured of its readiness to partner with the Lagos State government to improve the distribution of meat across the country.
Speaking during the study tour and engagement of stakeholders to understudy the air-cool meatvans from abattoirs and slaughterhouses to the various meat markets in Lagos State recently, the chief veterinary officer of Nigeria and director of the Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr. Maimuna Habbib said: “the objectives of the tour was to understudy the state’s air-cool meatvans, the abattoirs and the slaughterhouses”.
She revealed that the ministry would facilitate the speedy draft of a policy to ensure smooth operations, enforcement and implementation of the process across the nation, pointing out that the ministry procured 37 vehicles to be distributed to butchers for free, to facilitate the process across the country.
She further stated that the ministry would strengthen it collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to make every structure and the movement of meat from abattoirs to markets across the country a success.
In her remarks, the commissioner of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Ms. Ruth Olusanya said: “Prior to the launch of the Eko Meatvan Project in 2004, the meat haulage business in Lagos State was rather disorganised, haphazard and unregulated” and wooden carts were used to transport meat and carcasses from abattoirs and slaughter facilities to the deboning and bulk-breaking sections.
She pointed out that four private investors and butchers’ associations formed the executive stakeholders to run the fleet of air-cool meatvans from the abattoirs and slaughterhouses to the various meat markets state-wide, noting that the project was funded by Polaris Bank in agreement with the stakeholders.
She further stated that, in 2009, the ministry launched the Eko Refrigerated Meatvan Project as an advancement of the air-cool Eko Meatvans into refrigerated form and a total of 14 private investors’ companies along with the state butchers’ associations and Lagoon Butchers’ Ventures were successfully screened and licensed to operate the project under a jointly-registered cooperative umbrella (Agege Meatvan Multipurpose Cooperative society).
In his welcome address, the state director of veterinary services, Dr. Macaulay Molade said: “the refrigerated meat transportation project runs from 2009 till date and it is involved in the daily haulage of meat carcasses, cattle officials, head and feet as well as other cow parts from the abattoirs/slaughter facilities to the various meat markets”.
Earlier, in his goodwill message, the chairman of the Lagos State Butchers’ Association, Mr. Alabi Bamidele Kazeem said: “The butchers have been supportive to the state government and will continue to give their maximum cooperation”.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information signed by Mohammed A. Gana said the essence of the visit was to understudy the model of meat haulage in the state’s abattoirs, under the umbrella company known as the Eko Refrigerated Meat Haulage, with the aim to adopt the best practices in abattoirs nationwide and learning from the challenges that come from the initiatives, to improve on them.
In attendance were representatives of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), the National Agricultural Insurance Cooperation (NAIC), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and the CEO of the Farmers’ Market.